Saturday, May 26, 2012

A final push

It' now Saturday morning.
Yesterday was Pauls last day with us.  We dropped him off at the Airport Marriott 
in Phoenix last night so that he could make is 0700 flight this morning back to JFK.

That meant that between yesterday morning and last night we had some speed touring to do.

Our Friday morning began early in the Verde Valley with a delicious breakfast 
at one of my favorite breakfast Bistros....  Ronaldos' Steak House  (aka McDonalds).

While enjoying that breakfast we made tracks to our first Venue
The Montezuma Castle National Monument.

This area of the country is rich with Native American Heritage sites.
There are tens of thousands of sites in Arizona alone.

A source of water is always one of the prerequisites and here in the Verde Valley the
Verde River runs clear and cool...  a perfect source for drinking and growing crops.

This cliff dwelling was part of a complex that housed several hundred inhabitants.

A loop trail thru a cool riverbed glade held interpretive signs explaining how the native plants
were used to sustain life, cure ailments, and used for tools.

After taking the walk it was back to the truck, and make tracks back across the valley
to Tuzigoot National Monument.

Tuzigoot is the site of a 3 story Pueblo with about 110 rooms.  As with most villages, it
was built above the river flood plain.  In this case on the top of a hill 120' above the river.

The villages were designed this way for several reasons:  Safety from floods, mosquitos, 
preserving the moist river bottom for farming, easier defense.

The monument was excavated, stabilized, preserved, and developed like many, by
the WPA - one of the work agencies established by President Roosevelt during the 
Great Depression.  Throughout our journeys over the years we constantly run into
places that were created in this fashion.

Thank you President Roosevelt and all those long gone workers!
While we worry about government spending
 It's so important to preserve Americas great treasures for future generations.
Once they are gone - they are gone forever!

The shot below is from the top floor of the Pueblo.  The higher the floor, generally the
higher was your rank within the social structure.

Notice how green is the river bed.  If you look towards the upper left you
can see the edge of the valley.

The valley is an oasis in the desert.

After Tuzigoot, it was back to the coach real quick to let the Doods out, then back on
the road for a trip North up the Valley to Sedona.

Sedona is famous for its beautiful red rocks.

I'd never been here but had heard so much about it.  I knew it was beautiful but
didn't realize just how beautiful it is.

We did some real fast speed touring thru Sedona, down to Oak Creek and back.

While in Oak Creek we saw some smoke rising and increasing in intensity.
There has been several wildfires burning here in Arizona, and the winds have been
blowing up to 60mph at times which as compounded the problem.

We were concerned a wild fire had started and was going to burn this beautiful area.

We eventually passed the fire and it turned out to be a home in residential area had gone up
in flames and was totally consumed.  The poor residents no doubt lost all as the
structure had burned to the ground.

Another picture of the Sedona Area

We will be staying here at Dead Horse Ranch over the Memorial Day weekend
and will no doubt be back up to Sedona for more pictures.

After our tour thru Sedona, it was South down the valley, and then we climbed up the
Western slope to the town of Jerome.

Jerome is perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the Verde Valley way below.

I had heard about a great Mexican Restaurant, so we went there for a late lunch
and farewell dinner.  It was awesome.  The restaurant had these hand painted
cattle skulls all over the wall.  It was the most interesting artwork.
 Thanks Paul for lunch.

After lunch it was back to the coach, pick up the Doods, Paul packed, and we hit the road
to Phoenix.  It was about a 2hr drive, we left about 4pm, dropped Paul off about 6, and 
arrived back here at 8pm.

Kate left a trail of tears part way up Interstate 17.

We both were sad to see Paul leave.  
He's the perfect travel companion and we all had so
much fun over the past week.  It passed way to quickly.
We just laughed and laughed for hours on end and now the RV is an emptier place without him.

The Hopper!


  1. Greg:

    Now you are in my old stomping grounds. When I was going to school at NAU I lived in Oak Creek Canyon. Enjoy the scenery.

  2. Sedona looks and sounds so beautiful. Someday team island spirit will have to land yacht out there and tour all thesegreat places. Your blog is a great resourse and so are the maps. Thank you!

  3. We visited Mesa Verde (and I know you did also- last year?)when our family went cross country- never knew there were so many more ruins to explore! Great pictures!


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